August 12, 2018 Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Westshore Rebels extended their unbeaten, regular season record to eleven games dating back to August 5th, 2017, as the all-red drew even with the Okanagan Sun 18-18 on a second half comeback and a missed, game-winning Sun field goal Saturday afternoon at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC.
With the win, the Rebels can boast a 11-0, regular season unbeaten streak going into next weekend’s match against Kamloops Broncos.
Relieved to come away with the tie after holding a brief lead, head coach Charly Cardilicchia as realistic about the outcome. ” At the end of the day, we did dodge a bit of a bullet. That was a pretty easy kick for a kicker ( Isaac Wenger ) that is not a bad kicker. To come away with a point like that….I think we were lucky in getting, but I know a message was sent to them that we’re not a team to be taken lightly.”
With many players already in the disabled list, sidelined with short-term injuries, the Rebels would have their work cut out for themselves before ever taking the field. The absence of a few key defensive players and a field goal kicker surely give the visiting Sun reason to feel confident in their game.
The Rebel’s fortunes last game against the Langley Rams, much attributed to the aggressive play of the Westshore defense, would repeat itself in Langford as the Rebel’s would continue to struggle to find their offensive game mojo against an explosive Sun team.
A defensive battle the first half of the game, the Sun would take advantage with a 12-3 lead at the half on an early field goal, a touchback, and a rushing TD by starting Sun QB Jacob Loucks from two yards out. Loucks, going 5-17 on his abbreviated day, would leave the game on the last Sun possession of the game in the half and not return after a punishing tackle by a revved up Rebel defense.
Rebel’s starting QB Mason Brown, enduring relentless Okanagan pressure much of the game, would find team mate Cody Holmes with a twenty-four yard strike in the end zone to pull to within two points down 12-10 in the third quarter. Brown, chased most of the game in the backfield, would finish the game with a still-meaningful 224 yards passing for his team.
The Rebel’s defense, much the reason for the team’s early-season success, would never let the their foot off the pedal in the second half, forcing back up QB Matthew Mahler, after a 0-5 passing performance, to relying on a ground attack most of his tenure in the game. Rebel’s Rashaun Provo would make his presence felt in the Sun backfield, recording a game-high seven tackles to lead both teams.
That defense would turn away a surging offensive Sun team, relegating them to just single field goal to take, what seemed, a safe 15-10 lead into the fourth quarter. Over the last 120 minutes of play, the Rebel’s defense has allowed only two touchdowns so far this season.
Both teams would spar most of the final quarter until a Sun’s error would nearly cost them the game at the 2:42 mark remaining in the quarter.
The Rebel’s, becoming known around the BCFC as a hard-hitting, defensive crew, would benefit offensively on an Okanagan fumble, when a Sun ball would be jarred loose and picked up by defensive lineman Lowhys Lako, running fifty-five yards, diving into the house for the go ahead TD, giving the home team a 18-17 lead.
The Rebel offense, unable to take advantage of a defensive stop, would give the ball back to the Sun team with under one minute remaining. Unable to break into the end zone, Okanagan would sit on the Rebel twenty-eight yard line for the winning field goal.
In a fortuitous twist of fate, Sun’s kicker Isaac Wenger would pull the ball left and wide, but through the end of the end zone to come away with only a single, tying point at the end of game time.
The Rebels would dodge their first loss of the season with an 18-18 tie, improving to 1-0-1 and start the season in a two-way tie for first place with the Sun.
When asked post game to look forward to his expectations in coming games, head coach Charly Cardilicchia would comment,” There’s other teams. We need to take it week by week. At the end of the day this is going to be a very competitive league and there will be a lot of people gunning for us. We’ll be back at the drawing board this week to prepare for our next match up.”
The Westshore Rebels host the VI Raiders August 25th, 7 pm under the lights at Westshills Stadium in a match up that is always entertaining.